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Phosphorus Limitation, Uptake, and Turnover in Benthic Stream Algae

Steinman, Alan D.; Duhamel, Solange

In this chapter, three different aspects of P utilization by benthic algae will be covered: (1) assessment of P limitation, (2) measurement of P uptake rates, and (3) determination of the release rate of P (expressed as the turnover rate). We note two caveats regarding this chapter. First, we focus exclusively on inorganic P; it is likely that dissolved organic phosphorus plays an important, albeit relatively undefined role, in the nutrient dynamics of freshwater algae (cf. Hwang et al., 1998; Pant et al., 2002), especially in P-limited environments (Karl and Björkman, 2015). However, treatment of this topic is beyond the scope of this chapter (but see Chapter 24). Second, although we use the term benthic algae throughout the chapter, it should be noted that the benthic algae attached to submerged substrata in streams usually exist as part of a complex assemblage variously referred to as periphyton, aufwuchs, or biofilm. This assemblage usually consists of algae, bacteria, fungi, and meiofauna (see Chapters 9e11, 14) that exist within a mucilaginous, poly- saccharide matrix (Lock et al., 1984), and each biotic group has different affinities for P. Indeed, even within a group, P uptake and cycling may be influenced by the abundance of different species and growth forms (cf. Steinman et al., 1992; Davies and Bothwell, 2012).


Also Published In

Methods in Stream Ecology: Volume 2, Ecosystem Function
Academic Press

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Biology and Paleo Environment
Published Here
April 7, 2020